Free is Not Fair: Stop Giving Away Free Electricity!

Free is Not Fair: Stop Giving Away Free Electricity!

For decades, RV Campgrounds have included electric use for FREE to their customers.  This was primarily because there was no way to measure and bill for services during a short stay. (We define a short stay as any length of stay less than 30 days.) 

If you wanted to charge for electric usage, it would take a lot of time and effort for your staff to go out to each site between stays to read the electric meter. There's also the risk of human error when capturing meter data manually, potentially creating undesirable billing disputes with customers.

Times have changed.  Remote read technologies are becoming common place across the country and awareness is growing. The same wireless smart metering technology is now available for RV parks, campgrounds resorts, and marinas. 

When utilities are included in the rate, it’s the business owner that loses.

Many properties set their rates months or years in advance and try to average their expenses.  Unfortunately, they get burned when there is unusually hot or cold weather, when the utilities announce rate changes, and as new hungry electric vehicles, golf carts, and other devices become more common. 

When operational costs rise faster than the sales price of a product or service, that's called margin compression. Margin compression is a big problem for RV parks and campgrounds.

For example, if you've included $5 of energy into the rate and someone with a small travel trailer checks in, you're in good shape. But what happens when a Class A motorhome with a tow behind EV checks into one of your sites? They can end up using $15 to $25 of electricity. You might have made 50% gross margin on the typical travel trailer, but you might be down to 10% or even underwater for the large Class A or fifth wheel motorhome.

Not only is this unfair to the little guy, but those guests with more expensive rigs are getting a free ride when it comes to their unchecked electric usage.

It’s time to stop lighting money on fire. 

It’s now possible to start recovering the cost of utilities.  Using today’s advanced metering technology and sophisticated property management systems (PMS), it’s possible to measure utility usage in real-time and bill it back to the appropriate guest. Efficiently, accurately, and fairly. 

Not only is the metering data instantly available, but these new advanced metering systems also help stay on top of other park management issues such as meter outages, voltage problems, and overloading circuits.

So when do you start charging transient guests for electric use? 

There are a number of factors to be considered when making this decision. Some of these factors include your occupancy rate, your average daily rate, the popularity of your property, and your local utility rates.

The experts at Wild Energy can guide you through this process to help you understand how a cost effective, advanced metering and monitoring strategy can be a financial boon to your park in the short term and over the long term.

Get in touch with us today and we'll craft a customized quote for your park.

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